Saturday, May 15, 2010

Farewell Law & Order

Okay, Mr NYC is about to throw down, getting all East Coast-West Coast for ya'all.

Literally. But I'll get to that in a moment.

After twenty years, that venerable NYC institution, the TV show Law & Order has been canceled. Seems impossible. It's been on the air forever. When this show premiered, David Dinkins was mayor, the first President Bush was in the White House, the Internet didn't exist, and Barack Obama was still in law school. If you were born when this show premiered, you'd be in college now. But "to everything there is a season" and now Law & Order's twentieth season will be its last. This means the show is now tied with Gunsmoke as the longest running TV show of all time.

Wow. In a show-biz landscape that has changed many times in the last twenty years, that's about as spectacular a run as any show can expect to have. Only The Phantom of the Opera and The Simpsons have done better.

There are many reasons why L&O is DOA but the main reason, as usual in television, is ratings. For the last several years, the show's ratings have been very poor and it was getting tough to justify its continued economic existence. Granted this show and its spin offs have generated millions of dollars for NBC, particularly in re-runs (and re-runs of re-runs of re-runs) but the cost-benefit of new episodes had become prohibitive. So off the air it goes.

There are many conflicting stories about the show's demise. Some say it could have been saved, others that it was long, long past its expiration date. What's for certain, however, is that L&O's cancellation is yet another hit to an already lousy economy, since the show provided work for thousands of technicians, caterers, writers, administrators, and, of course, struggling actors. Now that spigot has been turned off. Sad.

But L&O will live on -- sorta. Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will continue. And apparently NBC is planning a new series called Law & Order: Los Angeles.


This is where NBC gets gangsta. WHY? WHY? WHY? Why are they creating an LA version of this show? Does TV really need this? L&O is a New York show, L&O is New York. What made the show great was its real NYC grittiness, it was filmed on the streets and in the apartments of real New Yorkers, it has the city in its veins, in its heart, in its soul. Every frame of the past twenty seasons screamed NYC. And now there gonna transpose that to ... LA?

It won't work. It can't work. I hope it fails.

Count this as yet another example of Los Angeles getting greedy and outright stealing - yes, STEALING -- something great from NYC and trying to make its own. First, in the 1950s, it was the Dodgers. This classic Brooklyn team was uprooted and taken to LA by greedy managers and that prick Robert Moses' machinations. Then, in the early 1970s, it was The Tonight Show, which ditched 30 Rock for "beautiful downtown Burbank" (yuck). And now it's Law & Order ... The show itself is its own most tragic victim.

Yes, if you can make it here then ... LA will try to steal you.

We gave them a great baseball team, the greatest talk show in history, and now a classic crime drama. And what did LA give us? The "Real Housewives" -- ugh. New York has been a creative and financial pipeline to LA for years, LA is basically NYC's bratty younger brother. Schnooks.

So farewell Law & Order. You did New York proud. Our city won't quite be the same without you. You really will be missed (well, not really, it'll be in re-runs until the fall of man but you get the gist). Goodbye.

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